GSS spends by consumers and brands remain robust in 2013
By Florence Pung and Silvia Leiva
Shopping is one of Singaporeans’ favourite activities. I am always amazed by the amount of people in the shopping malls hunting for goods, the queues to enter certain branded shops or judging by the amount of bags people are able to carry in one hand (while texting or talking through the mobile on the other). And yet, consumer confidence levels show concerns and caution, with “more focus on savings in Q2” (right at the heart of the GSS season)?
The reality tells us otherwise. Not only an observation now but also based on facts. Let’s look at the retail category excluding motor vehicles. During the Great Singapore Sales (GSS) this year, consumers shopped even more: the retail sales index in June showed a 2.6% increase versus the same month a year ago. Among the winners, we found spends in department stores/malls up by 6% and watches and jewellery up by 4%. (source: Singstats, see chart 1 above)
Not surprisingly credits cards usage went up too during GSS. MasterCard reported that its Singapore cardholders spent an increase of 12.4% to US$797.4 million in the first month of the GSS, compared to the same period last year. In addition, the number of transactions rose 17.1% to 6,380,708 in June alone. While no breakdown is provided by category, both trends move towards the same direction: consumers love shopping and GSS is a good time for it.
Now, what were brands doing during GSS period when that happened? Well, brands still consider GSS a hot spot judging by the data, even more this year. Retail advertising spends showed a 10% increase from June to July 2013 year on year. And, guess what, department stores and shopping centres had the highest increase in spends during the GSS period. Even watches and jewellery had a strong presence with a 55% share of spends in the clothes and accessories category, therefore maximizing chances to reach consumers (source: ADEX. See charts 2,3,4 above). Importantly brands pulled back spends in May 2013 to re-focus on the key months of June and July.
On the less positive side, home furniture, traditionally the number one retail spending category, suffered a drop in both sales and advertising spends versus a year ago.
GSS 2013 continues to be a success with consumers and brands. With relatively positive economic outlook for Singapore for the rest of the year, we anticipate that Christmas 2013 should be a winning season as well.
Sources: Nielsen AQX, Singapore Statistic/Singstat (Retail Index Scores), Nielsen Consumer Confidence Findings, Mastercard GSS transactions report 2013.